Being in the Moment

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

This weekend involved a visit with a young friend to Windsor and Eton. It was cold and dry, with a brisk wind blowing along the river Thames. It is years since I visited Windsor and Eton and wanted to see what had changed in the town as well as spend time by the river.

There’s a newly built precinct filled with lots of upmarket shops and there is the old part of the town near to the castle with the narrow streets and cobbled areas. It really is an eclectic mix of old and new. As it was a Saturday, the town was filled with shoppers and tourists. There were many different nationalities in the town and it was a pleasant surprise to see so many people out and about despite the cold windy day.

My friend & I grabbed a coffee and a sandwich, sat for a while chatting and the decided to go for a walk along the river.

It was bitterly cold. The wind was blowing along the river and despite the number of swans and ducks on the river bank, there were very few people out and about either feeding the birds or walking along the river.

We walked away from the town towards the sports centre and then turned back. It was at this point that I noticed that there was a fountain in a nearbypark. The fountain in question is the Jubilee fountain, erected to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee. The fountain is 25m long with a circular pool at the centre. In the middle of the pool is a geyser with a “crown” of 60 water jets.

We sat on a bench and watched the fountain as it jetted water into the air. For ten minutes we sat in quiet contemplation; watching the jets along the length of the fountain.

Being in the moment, I noticed that each single jet did not repeat the symmetry of the water as it was jetted into the air. The effect of the wind and the weather obviously has an effect. Perhaps there are pressure differentials. Who knows.

What I noticed was that moment, to moment, every single jet was unique. The motion of the water was wonderful to see. I pointed it out to my friend and we continued to sit for a few moments, observing the fountain in motion.

I took a short – 15 second video of the fountain to save the memory. You can see the video the link below. If you watch closely you too will see that the vertical jets at the front do not repeat and are uniquely jetting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN7OYcH_XMo

I leave you with the following quote:

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”― Alan W. Watts

Present Moments

“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

 

The narrative: After a manic work week, the weekends come around and are gone very quickly. We try to cram into the space of two days, events and activities that we could take more time over. For this past weekend, I was determined would be different. After a very hectic and stressful week in the work world, I wanted to recharge myself and also take some time out.

So what was I going to do?

On Meetup [an online local group network], there was an advert for a sound meditation session in Oxford. Combining a trip to Oxford; which is only 20 minutes away from my home; with chance to experience a different type of meditation seemed like a great plan. A quick ten minutes on the internet booking my place and checking where I could park; nowhere local to the event it would seem; and I left.

These days, I am much more relaxed about doing things on the spur of the moment. Maybe, it is because with Mindfulness, I am trying to be more mindful and live in the present moment and do things on the spur of the moment. I don’t know. Anyway, back to the story.

Oxford city has been trying for a number of years to make it the city centre more environmentally friendly. As a result, cars are banned from the city centre and instead you are encouraged to park on the outskirts and get a “Park and Ride” trip on a bus into the city centre. Before you make the comment that buses are big polluters too, they are replacing the diesel busses with electric ones.

I got to the “Park and Ride”, paid the £2 to park and £2.60 for a return trip on the bus. Fifteen minutes later and I got off the bus in the city centre and walked for ten minutes to the meditation meetup.

The session was fantastic and a really different way to experience meditation. Rather than sitting in silence, you lie on the floor on a mat and experience the sound waves. It was over far too quickly for me, and I left feeling invigorated and really open and alive.

A quick walk along the high street to a local supermarket where I picked up some lunch was followed by a leisurely stroll to Magdalen Bridge where I sat to twenty minutes or so, eating my lunch and watching the world go by.

 

Present Moments: As I sat there, I felt each moment as it came. The couple walking together with an old fashioned Oxford style bike. The group of girls dressed up. The chap in a mortar and cape, with a pink carnation. It did not matter it was not sunny and it was spotting with rain. Nor did the sight and sound of the cars and busses going past disturb that moment. Moment by moment. Feeling alive and grounded.

Having finished my lunch, I then had to make a decision. Walk to the nearest bus stop to get the “Park and Ride” bus back to the car park or walk?

Without really thinking about how long it would take, I decided to walk back to the car park. It was a wonderful walk back. People would pass me, either walking or on cycles. Occasionally, one of the bus’s I was supposed to get a lift on would go past. At no point did I think about sticking out my arm to flag one down.

Approximately an hour later I was back at the car. Still refreshed. Still relaxed. And certainly in the present moment. Something so simple as a walk. Someone commented on the photo I posted with: “No city should be so big that you can’t walk out of it in a morning” Cyril Connelly. I would completely agree.

By the way. The photo I used for this is the famous “Flying shark”. If you want to read more, go to:

http://www.headington.org.uk/shark/

I leave you with the following quote:

“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering” Ida Scott Taylor